A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us is a 2018 anime in which Ash, Pikachu, and his friends must find a way to work together in order to save Fula City. As the title implies, the story relies heavily on themes of teamwork and cooperation. Characters learn how to use their strengths for a shared purpose. One of the characters engages in lying and suffers the consequences. There's some cartoon violence: explosions and exaggerated and somewhat demonic Pokémon faces during heated battles. A Pokémon's feelings are constantly getting hurt by a man who doesn't want to be his friend. A group of boys laugh and make fun when other characters fall over or accidentally knock things over. There's some peril when thick smoke threatens to engulf Fula City, and adults and kids are trapped in an aerial tramway car.
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What's the story?
In POKÉMON THE MOVIE: THE POWER OF US, everyone is looking forward to the Wind Festival in Fula City, a city that "lives in harmony with the wind." Risa (Haven Paschall) is there to catch a Pokémon for her brother Rick, who is bedridden with a broken leg. Ash Ketchum (Sarah Natochenny) has just arrived from Pallet City with his loyal Pokémon, Pikachu, for the big Pokémon Catch Race. Team Rocket is there to start trouble. Uncle Callahan, eager to impress his niece Kelly, brags and lies about his Pokémon catching abilities. The scientist Toren, brilliant but shy and awkward, must give a speech. And Margo, the mayor's daughter, has been secretly going to the mountain forest to take care of a mysterious Pokémon named Zerarora, who the previous mayor tried to protect from poachers by lying about Zerarora being dead and the mountain cursed. After Team Rocket steals an Effect Spore bottle from Toren's lab and the bottle cracks open in the woods, and Margo steals the Eternal Flame as a way to reach Legendary Pokémon Lugia to protect Zerarora from a pair of poachers, dark Effect Spore clouds threaten to engulf Fula City and cancel the Wind Festival for good. It's up to Ash, Risa, Toren, and the rest to work together to use their individual strengths to save Fula City.
Is it any good?
Like the other movies in the Pokémon franchise, this has the usual cast of thousands and the Pokémon who love said cast of thousands. While the multiple story threads can be difficult to follow at times, Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us finds a way to unite everyone through teamwork and cooperation that more or less makes sense, even if one of the story threads remains unaddressed until a brief scene shoehorned in after the credits. In other words, viewers who aren't Pokémon superfans are far less likely to get lost, confused, and inevitably disinterested in the story.
Even so, in terms of character backstories and setting histories, many adult viewers will have an easier time taking apart the novels of William Faulkner than they will the convoluted storylines contained in this movie. But for kids, there are plenty of exciting Pokémon battles and easy-to-understand positive messages. The anime melodrama is abundant, but so is the action. The result is one of the better movies in the series. Like the others, it's still best for the superfans, but it's possible that this movie might win some converts as well.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Pokémon. Why do you think Pokémon continues to be popular? How does this movie reflect the "battles" kids might have when playing Pokémon?
How does Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us show teamwork and cooperation? Have there been times in your life when you worked with friends, teammates, or classmates to create something, win a game, or make a project?
What happens when one of the characters tries to lie about how good he is at catching Pokémon?
- In theaters: November 25, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: March 19, 2019
- Cast: Sarah Natochenny, Haven Paschall, Erica Schroeder
- Director: Tetsuo Yajima
- Studio: Warner Brothers
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: May 13, 2020
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